NHL

Steve Montador's family sues NHL over concussions player suffered

The family of the late Steve Montador is suing the NHL over concussions and other brain injuries the defenceman suffered during his playing career. Montador died in February at 35 from a degenerative disease that can be caused by repetitive brain trauma.

Former Flames D-man died in February of degenerative brain disease

Defenceman Steve Montador, who had a role in Calgary reaching the 2004 Stanley Cup final, played 571 NHL regular-season games for Florida, Anaheim, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago and the Flames. Now, his family has filed a lawsuit following the 35-year-old's death over concussions and other brain injuries Montador suffered during his playing career. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press/File)

The family of the late Steve Montador is suing the NHL over concussions and other brain injuries the defenceman suffered during his playing career.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. federal court, alleges that the league collected data on concussions as far back as 1997 but failed to warn Montador about the dangers.

Montador died in February, and an autopsy showed the 35-year-old suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, a progressive degenerative disease that can be caused by repetitive brain trauma.

In the lawsuit, the family alleges that Montador suffered "thousands of sub-concussive brain traumas" along with multiple concussions.

The 34-page complaint states that the NHL "failed to keep [Montador] reasonably safe during his career and utterly failed to provide him with crucial medical information on the permanent ramifications of brain trauma."

Montador played 571 regular-season and 43 playoff games for the Calgary Flames (2001-2005), Florida Panthers, Buffalo Sabres, Boston Bruins, Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks.

His father, Paul, is named as the plaintiff in the lawsuit and the NHL and NHL board of governors as the defendants.

The allegations against the league have not been proven in court.

"We had heard through media sources that that was likely a possibility, but I'm not going to comment on it," commissioner Gary Bettman said at the league's board of governors meeting in Pebble Beach, Calif. "We're not litigating publicly."

In the complaint, Montador's family says he experienced "significant memory issues, sleep disturbances, chronic pain, a substance abuse problem, photosensitivity, mood and behavioural changes, decreased appetite, anxiety and depression" during and after his NHL career.

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